Fashion show under the stars

  • 2000-09-14
  • Darius James Ross
The square in front of the Vilnius City Hall was transformed into a giant outdoor fashion pavilion Sept. 8 to Sept. 10 for the biannual Vilnius Fashion Weekend.

A 70-meter-long catwalk was built along the square and temporary stands seating several hundred people erected alongside.

While most of the collections were by Lithuanian designers, guests from Greece, Italy and Japan also participated. Clothes varied from down-to-earth simply- cut designs for men and women to outlandish rule-breaking designs - men wearing diaphanous pants and women's underwear and cylindrical silk tops reminiscent of bug jackets worn by travelers in Northern forests to prevent insect bites.

The most interesting display was a collection of authentic kimonos organized by Algirdas Kudzys, vice-mayor of Vilnius, whose wife is Japanese. This largely ceremonial garment is worn by men and women as a wedding dress and on other special occasions only.

Children receive their first kimono 100 days after they are born. Special schools exist to teach people how to put on a kimono. With proper instruction, one can learn to put the kimono on in about 45 minutes.

Otherwise, special kimono handlers need to be hired in order to tie all the elaborate belts and sashes. Younger people wear brighter kimonos while older people favor darker ones.